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NFFF New Goals Discussion: The More You Know

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  • NFFF New Goals Discussion: The More You Know

    Various studies related to fire science and behavior provides firefighters with more data than ever before. Firehouse Editor-in-Chief Tim Sendelbach explains how experience and knowledge can work hand-in-hand on the fireground. Read the article here: http://firehouse.com/12104788.

    Share your feedback on the questions below:

    1. What annual testing/evaluation does your department conduct? Do you think this is sufficient to ensure safe and effective performance?
    2. Do you believe firefighters today suffer from a lack of experience (i.e., not enough fires)? Why?

  • #2
    1. None of the three departments that I work or volunteer for does any type of annual performance testing. I can honestly say that I know of no department in this area that does, but I could be very wrong.

    2. Do we go to fewer fires? Yes. My combination department, which is my career gig, goes to less than 10 actual working fires a year when 15 years ago we would go to 20. My volunteer department goes to 1 or 2 structure fires a year and the combo department I volunteer for goes to maybe 3 or 4. Why? Smoke alarms. Fire codes. Better prevention and awareness. Dumb luck. And in other places more inspections and sprinklers.

    And yes, it's a significant problem, especially since we can't burn with the fuels that are actually burning today, but instead we are training with the fuels that used to burn.
    Train to fight the fires you fight.

    Comment


    • #3
      1. None.

      2. Ironically, we're going to less fires, but we're responding to more calls. The first year I joined my department they had something under 30 total calls for the year, and most were "active" - various types of fires, not all structure, together with a few "service" calls. Last year we ran 120 calls - 40 of which were automatic MA and cancelled enroute (many residential and commercial alarms). Another 40 were EMS, which we did not run in 1978. I don't recall how many MVA's we ran last year, but we didn't run many of them in 1978, either - only the "bad" ones.

      IIRC, we had two structure fires of our own last year, and several mutual aid. This makes it difficult to get the members to understand the need to train. Since not all members are able to attend to all structure fires (work, etc), it's entirely possible that a perfectly active member didn't make any workers...

      An old saw is that someone has one year of experience, twenty (or whatever) times. I think that's true for a lot of us.
      Opinions my own. Standard disclaimers apply.

      Everyone goes home. Safety begins with you.

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by FHEditor View Post
        Various studies related to fire science and behavior provides firefighters with more data than ever before. Firehouse Editor-in-Chief Tim Sendelbach explains how experience and knowledge can work hand-in-hand on the fireground. Read the article here: http://firehouse.com/12104788.

        Share your feedback on the questions below:

        1. What annual testing/evaluation does your department conduct? Do you think this is sufficient to ensure safe and effective performance?
        2. Do you believe firefighters today suffer from a lack of experience (i.e., not enough fires)? Why?
        1. No annual testing/evaluation.

        2. Yes, and for many of the same reasons as Tree mentioned. When we don't make many calls, people don't see the need to spend the money for new equipment or the time for training when we don't make that many calls. Most of our calls are wildfires, storage tank fires, or hunting/utv accidents. Very few structure fires, and far fewer where there is really much work involved. I make the majority of our calls, so I have been on several. We have some that can't leave work, and they may have been on the department for a while without making a structure fire, or making only one or two.

        Comment


        • #5
          Mike Wieder

          Hi folks, I am one of the NFFF hosts for this month's discussion. There is one train of thought that regular training is more important for people who do not get of work at actual incidents. Your thoughts?

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by miwieder View Post
            Hi folks, I am one of the NFFF hosts for this month's discussion. There is one train of thought that regular training is more important for people who do not get of work at actual incidents. Your thoughts?
            Um duh? Sorry but I couldn't help myself. If you don't use the skills in emergency settings on a regular basis then realistic as possible training must take place or skills weaken or even disappear over time.

            In many areas a lack of working fires, a good thing for the citizens, leads to atrophy of firefighting skills, a bad thing for our citizens when fire actually strikes. One of the problems I see is a lack of realistic live fire training. What do we burn? Hay and pallets, or some places, natural gas. A lack of smoke that acts like smoke does in a real fire gives a false impression of interior conditions. Temperature restrictions of 600 to 800 at the ceiling give a false sense of security as crews enter and the floor is cooler than it would be in a structure fire. I have no answers as the NFPA is adamant about what we can and can't burn in these evolutions.
            Crazy, but that's how it goes
            Millions of people living as foes
            Maybe it's not too late
            To learn how to love, and forget how to hate

            Comment


            • #7
              Fyred, that's one thing that has always puzzled me. The UL has done studies comparing traditional rooms to modern rooms, and almost everything about the way they burn is different. Yet, using pallets and hay for training makes them burn much more like a traditional room than a modern one. I can see where safety is definitely in play during the actual training, but I have also wondered about the false sense of security.

              Comment


              • #8
                I have questioned this for years. We used to toss a shingle or two on the pallets to get some realistic smoke but that ended after I was threatened with termination for violating safety policies. I just don't understand how teaching an entire generation of firefighters to fight fire in an environment with little or no smoke, and reduced temperatures, prepares them for the gray/black smoke real world materials produce. Add to that the don't put the fire out we have lots of crews to run through live fire today and what muscle memory have you created?
                Crazy, but that's how it goes
                Millions of people living as foes
                Maybe it's not too late
                To learn how to love, and forget how to hate

                Comment


                • #9
                  I think that a lack of experience with real fires goes hand in hand with a lack of knowledge about fighting real fires. And that lack of knowledge can then lead to a lack of desire to learn about real fires (and the new studies), because, heck, how hard can it be to stand there with a hose in your hand?

                  I suspect this is a significant problem in small, relatively inactive (fires-wise) volunteer departments, in no small part for the reasons already mentioned. Add to that a culture that doesn't value any sort of continuing education ("I took Essentials of Firemanship thirty years ago when I joined. What more do I need to know?") and, well, you know.
                  Opinions my own. Standard disclaimers apply.

                  Everyone goes home. Safety begins with you.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    That is another battle I fight. No need to refresh or stay up to date.
                    Crazy, but that's how it goes
                    Millions of people living as foes
                    Maybe it's not too late
                    To learn how to love, and forget how to hate

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by FyredUp View Post
                      That is another battle I fight. No need to refresh or stay up to date.

                      Absolutely not! Once learned is enough. It isn't like things have changed in any way, shape or form in the last couple of decades. No difference in fire behavior or dynamics, no new UL/NIOSH studies, no change in building construction or practices, none of that.

                      One constant in nature is a being is either growing and developing or it is decaying and dying. There is no in-between. I do not understand why some think they are above nature and above this rule. If we are not learning, we are not growing and developing our skills and abilities. We are letting them decay.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by WVFD705 View Post
                        One constant in nature is a being is either growing and developing or it is decaying and dying. There is no in-between. I do not understand why some think they are above nature and above this rule. If we are not learning, we are not growing and developing our skills and abilities. We are letting them decay.
                        If you don't mind I am going to steal this quote and use it when I teach entry level firefighter.
                        Crazy, but that's how it goes
                        Millions of people living as foes
                        Maybe it's not too late
                        To learn how to love, and forget how to hate

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by FyredUp View Post
                          I have questioned this for years. We used to toss a shingle or two on the pallets to get some realistic smoke but that ended after I was threatened with termination for violating safety policies. I just don't understand how teaching an entire generation of firefighters to fight fire in an environment with little or no smoke, and reduced temperatures, prepares them for the gray/black smoke real world materials produce. Add to that the don't put the fire out we have lots of crews to run through live fire today and what muscle memory have you created?
                          Wait, you mean there is no sensor to get wet enough that the fire goes out? There is no valve to shut the fire off?

                          And yet we expect to have trained fire fighters. Live burns with pallets/hay isn't even allowed in my state anymore. Vehicle fires are taught via a bunch of pipes in the "shape" of a car.

                          I am not against safety and being safe, but I believe we have gone so far to the "safe" side we are making less safe fire fighters.
                          "This thread is being closed as it is off-topic and not related to the fire industry." - Isn't that what the Off Duty forum was for?

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Bones42 View Post
                            Wait, you mean there is no sensor to get wet enough that the fire goes out? There is no valve to shut the fire off?

                            And yet we expect to have trained fire fighters. Live burns with pallets/hay isn't even allowed in my state anymore. Vehicle fires are taught via a bunch of pipes in the "shape" of a car.

                            I am not against safety and being safe, but I believe we have gone so far to the "safe" side we are making less safe fire fighters.
                            The tech college I teach for has 2 new towers both designed to burn hay and pallets. So at least for now we can do that.

                            I couldn't agree more with your last sentence...There doesn't seem to be a sensible or logical answer though.
                            Crazy, but that's how it goes
                            Millions of people living as foes
                            Maybe it's not too late
                            To learn how to love, and forget how to hate

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Bones42 View Post
                              Wait, you mean there is no sensor to get wet enough that the fire goes out? There is no valve to shut the fire off?

                              And yet we expect to have trained fire fighters. Live burns with pallets/hay isn't even allowed in my state anymore. Vehicle fires are taught via a bunch of pipes in the "shape" of a car.

                              I am not against safety and being safe, but I believe we have gone so far to the "safe" side we are making less safe fire fighters.
                              100% agree.

                              It's sorta like if the Army was training the troops to fight against an enemy armed with pointed sticks and fruit (yes, that is a Monty Python reference) when they are armed with rifles and bazookas.

                              A hay and pallet fir burns nothing like a hydrocarbon based structure fire. A gas-fired car prop burns nothing like a real vehicle. The fact that we somehow believe that we are preparing firefighters using these methods makes no sense.

                              https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=piWCBOsJr-w
                              Last edited by LaFireEducator; 08-25-2015, 09:03 AM.
                              Train to fight the fires you fight.

                              Comment

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